These days, many people are trying to avoid carbs and gluten in their diets in an attempt to lose weight, address sensitivities, or just follow trends. However, not all grains are created equal, and some grains are much healthier than others to include in your day.
In this article, we’re looking at the healthiest types of grains to eat and also a few grains to limit or avoid as part of your natural lifestyle.
Whole Grains vs. Refined Grains
When many people think of carbs, images of white bread, sugary cereals, and baked goods come to mind. These are examples of refined carbohydrates that have been modified from their original state and are far less healthy than whole grains. Refined grains have been linked to increased obesity risks and the onsite of type-2 diabetes.
Meanwhile, whole grains retain the outer layer that is high in fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. They also contain natural germ, which has protein, healthy fats, and B vitamins, as well as endosperm, which is the energy supply of the seeds. Benefits of whole grains include helping you feel full after eating, getting fiber in your diet, and the various vitamins and minerals they contain. Whole grains also give your body energy when eaten in moderation.
Healthy Types of Whole Grains
There are many types of healthy grains to choose from, and it is fun to experiment with different ones in your favorite recipes and when you go out to eat. Quinoa is an excellent grain to eat because it is packed with nine essential amino acids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, while also being gluten-free. Amaranth is another very healthy grain to try and one that you can use as a substitute for pasta or rice. Buckwheat is often ground into flour and used to make healthy pasta and pancakes. Barley is an ancient, healthy grain that is high in selenium, fiber, and magnesium.
To recap and also add a few more suggestions, here are healthy grains to eat more of:
You can also look for store-bought products labeled as “100% whole wheat” because these items are healthier than white bread or multigrain bread. Choose brown rice over white rice to get more nutrients, or consider exotic black or red rice because these varieties have even more antioxidants.
Less Healthy Grains to Skip
As a general rule, avoid refined grain products, such as white bread, white rice, white flour tortillas, biscuits, and sugary cereals. The sugars in grain products are empty calories that do not offer any nutritional value and contribute to weight gain. When you are shopping for grains, look at what the first ingredient is on the packaging. Good ingredients to see first on the list are whole grain wheat flour, brown rice, oats, and oatmeal.
With so many healthy grains to choose from, it should be relatively easy to phase out unhealthier grains in your diet over time. These are simple switches that can make a big difference in how you feel after eating meals and your overall health.